This book by Fred Archer affected me, as all his books do, in very different ways. On the one hand, his vast knowledge on the subject is impressive and bound to teach all yellowfin and bigeye tuna anglers plenty; on the other, his tendency to be somewhat condescending and at times, blunt, can make him hard going at times.
Having done a fair amount of tuna fishing myself, many of the more radical ideas did make good sense when added to personal experience. But keep in mind that his methods for fishing are structured around the most efficient way to hook and land fish, rather than catering to those who like being ‘sporting’ or hunting for records (although there’s still plenty of worthwhile information in here for those who are inclined towards lighter tackle).
Fred makes no bones about being very much the ‘hunter, gatherer’ type and has little respect or time for people who target these big, tough fish with inadequate tackle, especially if bigeye tuna are a possibility. (In fact, when talking about the role of 50W game reels, he recommends putting 200 feet of 130lb nylon on top of 80lb dacron — very different from what most of us would spool that reel up with, or believed possible).
The book goes on to cover pretty much everything you need to know — and more — all driven home repeatedly with the subtlety of a pile driver. But the technique works, as you do remember the important points!
Towards the end, as I began to understand the man, I sometimes chuckled to myself instead of feeling personally affronted — he simply says what he wants to without making any compromises.
There are a lot of very interesting observations, experiences and theories throughout the book. I found his methods for top shotting, night trolling, how and when to use teasers, and why he likes certain products, to be very thought-provoking — although at times the book can take on the appearance of a large advertisement for his Pacific/International Bluewater company.
He apologises for the quality of his photos, and needs to. They are pretty fuzzy but at least the point still gets across, and his accompanying illustrations are competent enough.
In summary, this book is a mixed bag. While editing and photography are not amongst Archer’s finest talents, he more than makes up for it with astute observations, great knowledge and an ‘entertaining’ writing style. This book is a must for all people who fancy themselves as tuna fishermen — at all skill levels.